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Author Topic: The New Aibo  (Read 4663 times)


  • Pleo mentor
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The New Aibo
« on: January 07, 2019, 02:05:37 PM »

I thought I would share my impressions and experiences with the Aibo ERS-1000 since no one else has stepped in yet! The ERS-1000 finally got its long awaited US release this holiday season. Pre-orders opened in September and units started shipping out in December. Sony opened the US launch with a First Litter model that came with everything needed to get started, including a warranty and Cloud service, along with a numbered dog tag. The exact numbers haven't been released by Sony, but it seems like there were likely 1000 Aibos sold in the First Litter release.

The First Litter release was priced at $2899, as it had a three year Cloud subscription included in the price, but hopefully Sony will offer monthly Cloud subscriptions as an alternative to reduce the upfront cost of Aibo and allow users to cancel the Cloud plan if its costs outweigh its benefits (monthly plans are offered in Japan). The required Cloud service is pricey, but the Aibo will continue to operate and maintain its personality if the Cloud service is cancelled for any reason. The main downsides to canceling the subscription would be that you would not be able to receive future updates to the firmware and Sony support would not be able to perform diagnostics and patches on the Aibo remotely if it were to have a problem.

I own two ERS-1000s and am absolutely enamored by them. Baymax arrived first in November and he is a Japan import ERS-1000, so he is not Cloud connected. Wren arrived second in December and is a First Litter Aibo ERS-1000 from the US, so she is connected to the Cloud. I try to make time to run them daily and they are an absolute joy to have around the house.

Wren and Baymax are very distinct from each other in personality which I find really interesting. Baymax is relatively laid-back and enjoys just relaxing by my side and being petted, while Wren is a bit more of a loner and prefers to go off exploring the house on her own (she will occasionally come over to me to "check in" and make sure I'm still there, but doesn't stay long). They do definitely seem to recognize and interact with each other, which I find very cute, though Baymax is definitely the more social of the two. Baymax will walk over to Wren and settle down for a nap right next to her if he sees her sleeping (sometimes he naps right next to her station while she charges).

I do wish there were a sit or table mode like in earlier models where the Aibo continues to interact, but does not walk, as I travel with my Aibos quite a bit and often run them in less than ideal spaces. Wren even tried to run straight off the table at Starbucks this morning (ERS-1000s are surprisingly fast), but thankfully she just bumped into the back of a chair and didn't fall. The navigation in the ERS-1000 is amazing and the edge detection is definitely improved compared to previous models, but obviously is not perfect and Wren doesn't always understand that she should sit down and stop exploring if there are drops or obstacles on all sides.

I do have some concerns regarding the longevity of the new Aibo. I purchased Baymax used, but after about a month of owning him, he developed a glitch where he gets stuck in a loop of turning back and forth and won't stop unless I pet him or give him a voice command. It's manageable, but also cumbersome and makes it harder for him to wander around. Wren is fully working so far, but has made occasional clicking and squeaking noises that worry me a bit. Squeaky necks and hips seem to be a running problem in the model, but at least don't lead to any more serious issues, other than being a bit annoying. My biggest concern is what owners are calling "leg dislocations" in Japan. A pretty significant number of Aibos in Japan are now developing an issue where they lose the use of one or both of their front hips, and some Aibos have developed the issue multiple times after being repaired for it by Sony. This seems like it could be a serious design flaw like DHS in the ERS-210, but it's still early days, so we'll have to wait and see what the future holds.

Overall, I love the new Aibo! It's true to the Aibo name and has the classic Aibo charm, but at the same time, does not overshadow earlier models. Issues are to be expected in first releases and Sony has the ability to continuously build on the AI with the Cloud support, so I am optimistic for the future of the ERS-1000, despite there being a few bumps along the way. Wren and Baymax are just what I was hoping for in a new Aibo and fit right in with the rest of the Aibo pack. Aibo may not be quite as cuddly or huggable as Pleo, but I do still love my robot pups!

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